How to Plan your New Zealand Road Trip

We understand the daunting task of planning a roadie in such a dynamic country, so we’ve come up with a bit of a guide to help you craft the ultimate trip.

With un-crowded roads winding through a stunningly diverse landscape, New Zealand has got to be one of the best places on earth to experience by road. We understand the daunting task of planning a roadie in such a dynamic country, so we’ve come up with a bit of a guide to help you craft the ultimate New Zealand road trip. 

How much time do you have?

You could spend months or even years discovering all the nooks and crannies of New Zealand but, let’s be realistic, you probably only have a few weeks, right? We would recommend at least one week on each island to truly get a feel of the country.

Since we are so far away from the rest of the world, New Zealand is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for most so, if you can spare more time away from home, 10 days to two weeks on each island allows you time to stop off where you please, mix in some fun activities, mingle with the locals and experience our famous Kiwi “go with the flow” attitude.

What is on your New Zealand bucket list?

Have you jotted down the places you absolutely cannot miss on your New Zealand road trip? Plan your itinerary around these, then mix in some quintessential Kiwi sights and some off-the-beaten-track spots for a varied adventure.

If you want to learn of New Zealand’s intriguing history, start your roadie in the Bay of Islands. Here, the first capital of New Zealand, Waitangi Treaty Grounds, sparkling island-dotted seascapes and a chance to swim with the iconic Bottlenose dolphins await you. More history, as well as captivating Maori culture, blasting geysers and soothing mineral waters lie in the geothermic wonderland of Rotorua.

To escape the crowds and witness some of New Zealand’s most dramatic and alluring scenery, drive through some of our protected national parks. Dual World Heritage awarded, Tongariro, showcases a rugged alpine wilderness, with three active volcanoes, glistening crater lakes and plenty of opportunities to reenact scenes from the Lord of the Rings. Fiordland National Park is a picture of jaw-dropping beauty, boasting misty fiords, snow-capped peaks, dense native forest and ancient frozen glaciers. 

What types of accommodation do you like to stay in?

From ‘roughing it’ under the stars to plush retreats, New Zealand provides a wide range of accommodation options to suit any preference or budget.

Our Department of Conservation camping grounds are a budget option, usually located in remote yet gorgeous areas of the country, and allow you to experience authentic New Zealand wilderness firsthand. For a classic Kiwi stay, Top 10 Holiday Parks are dotted in all major holiday spots throughout the country and are bustling with tourists and vacationing locals to meet.

If you’re looking for solid roof over your head, motels are a cost effective and popular option; they are like little self-contained apartments, so you can cook your own meals and relax in private – a home away from home! Or maybe you want to indulge after a long day’s drive at one of New Zealand’s many fine hotels, luxury lodges or delightful B&Bs.

Has this brought you closer to realizing your New Zealand road trip dream? The team at First Light Travel can bring this dream to life without any hassle, obligation or cost to you.

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